In Manitoba, the official arrival of “spring” looks a lot like winter. Most years, there is still a foot or two of snow on the ground. The temperature has often hinted at warming up, but those frigid days aren’t necessarily over and spring blizzards are known to pack a wallop. Sometimes it’s hard to see the brighter days of spring when you are still in the throes of winter.
There are plenty of possible parallels to draw between the changing seasons and an athlete’s journey. There are highs and lows. Feeling stuck and finding change. Taking time to rest before a period of great growth. Pushing through the mundane before a season of flourishing.
In conversation with the CSCM Sport Psychology team about the changing seasons, Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, CSCM Director of Sport Psychology, pointed out, “Every season has an opportunity for growth. Everything has a reason or purpose.”
“Seasons are supposed to change,” Craig C Brown, CSCM Mental Performance Assistant, reminds us. “We can prepare for or react to what each season brings. Same for mental wellness and performance. Prepare for the season. Understand what happens in each season and mentally and physically prepare for what will happen in that season and what comes next.”
So whether you are struggling with the calendar seasons or the season of life that you find yourself in, here are a few tools and strategies, not just to help you cope but to embrace the opportunity to learn and grow in this season.
Tools and Strategies / Personal Mindset
Acceptance– You can choose to fight it, or you can choose to accept it, but where you are right now is a fact. Accepting it makes it easier to thrive where you are.
Find the joy– Hold your head high and be proud of your journey, regardless of whether you’re in a season of sunshine or if you’re feeling the rain. Looking for the good will help you navigate each situation.
Control – you can’t control the situation but you can control your response. Sticking with the weather metaphors, you can’t stop the rain, but you can choose to grab an umbrella and put on some boots and go dance in that rain.
“You can’t control the weather, all you can control is how you react to it.“ – Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood
Tools and Strategies / Take Action
Connect – It’s important to connect with your people and to have a support system in place. This might also mean bringing in new support that can help you with the season you are in right now.
Opposite Action – If you’re feeling down, do something opposite to what you’re feeling. It sounds backwards, but sometimes the last thing you want to do might be the best thing for you. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Engage in something you generally enjoy even if you don’t feel like it now. The urge that you have to shell up and not do anything – go against that.
Broaden your perspective – Sometimes we get tunnel vision where all we see is the narrow focus of what is happening right in front of us right now. It’s important to expand your focus. This could be taken quite literally – get outside and be in nature. Be mindfully present and remind your brain and your body that there is a bigger world outside of your narrow focus of attention.
“Understand who you are and what you need to thrive and sustain yourself in this season.” – Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood
Lastly, remember that if you need help in the season of life that you are currently in, seek out a professional to work with. Brighter days are ahead.